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Heartbroken boyfriend pays beautiful tribute to ‘selfless’ healthcare worker who died of COVID-19 aged 34

Lily Wakefield May 8, 2020
carer dies of COVID-19

Mick Gallagher (right) had just recently moved in with his boyfriend John (left). (Channel 4)

A heartbroken man in Scotland paid an emotional tribute to his boyfriend, a carer, who passed away from COVID-19 at just 34 years old.

Mick Gallagher was an agency carer who mostly worked night shifts in care homes near Glasgow and was training to be a nurse, according to Channel 4. He had mild asthma, but was not worried about going to work amid the pandemic.

He and his partner John had recently moved in together and were planning for their future, but on April 9, Mick died of COVID-19. He is one of the youngest UK health workers to die during the coronavirus crisis.

John told Channel 4: “He was always happy, always laughing and making a joke. He was very selfless, whether it was his residents, me, his mother.

“That was Mick, he just liked to take care of people… He was the one taking care of your mum or your dad when they’re not able to take care of themselves.

“He was the one making sure they were comfortable, that they were well-fed. He was the one making sure they were dignified at the end.”

Mick’s condition worsened suddenly.

Mick fell ill just a few days before his death, and although he called 111, the carer believed he was getting better.

“Certainly on the day he died, you wouldn’t have thought he was ill,” John continued.  “You would have just thought he was tired. He was up and about and cleaning and he felt fine.”

But when Mick took a bath that day, things took a turn for the worse.

“I helped him up and as soon as he was vertical he started to struggle for air,” John said. “He went from sitting like I am now, to dead in 20 to 30 minutes.”

Tearful, he added: “His last words were that he was scared, and I was scared too but I was there for him.

And then he told me that he loved me and I said it to him as well, that I loved him and that we were going to get through it.

When the ambulance arrived, Mick had already passed away.

In England and Wales, the families of NHS and care workers are eligible for a death in service payment of £60,000, but this is not the case in Scotland, where bereavement payments do not cover carers.

John said: “It’s not something you think of, planning someone’s funeral. And certainly not for Mick, he was only 34.

“That’s something people our age don’t think about for another 10 or 20 years… We’re not asking for the world, we would be happy if they just paid the funeral costs, for example.

“A recognition that he died in service and care to other people.”

Generous donations help pay for funeral of carer who suddenly died.

John was applying for a hardship grant to put towards funeral costs, but after a JustGiving page was set up, they managed to raise enough for Mick’s funeral in “a few hours”.

According to the page, John said: “I and Christine [Mick’s mother] want to say thank you to everyone that gave something for Mick.

“We’re truly blown away and humbled that in just a few hours we’ve raised enough to pay for Mick’s funeral.

“I was rather nervous about sharing Mick’s story because to him, it was all part of the job. We’re so pleased that his story has touched so many of you.”

More: bereavement payment, carer, crowdfunding, death in service payment, gay couple, Glasgow, health workers, Scotland

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